Saturday, July 16, 2011

When does the adventure really begin?...

Tom Says,

I have been remiss in not telling all my children waiting back home how much I love and miss them.  Ethan, Phoebe, Leanore, Sophie, Holly, and Trudy you are very special gifts from the Lord for me and your mother and we can't imagine our lives without you.  Thank You so very much for your love, kindness and patience while waiting for us to return.  This post is for you!

We got two wonderful additions to the family (Alina & Vitaly for those of you just getting here) yesterday on Friday the 15th of July.  If you're reading our blog, you've probably heard this story many times before, and while it is similar to others, it is different because it is our story. 

Last time on the orphanage grounds, bye bye

It was hot from the beginning of the day as Mary and I got up early and got ready, the backpack was already packed with the kids gotcha clothes; we had some little things for them and the camera with extra charged battery, and then we were picked up, and rushed around, and waited...and waited...and... waited some more.  It seemed like at every step we weren't really needed (but we were there just in case) which makes it frustrating (because you want to help speed it up but there's nothing you can do) and it was a very long day.  After we got our court documents we were informed that they were working on getting us the expedited passports, but that things weren't looking good for that.

Both kids were born here in the city, which saved us some travel, but we still had to go to two different local government offices to get their birth certificates done.  We got to the first one and waited for a bit, (sidenote: there was a turf war ongoing, one big dog kept coming into the local packs territory and when a dog would see him they'd start barking, 10-12 other dogs would come running from all around and then they'd chase the big dog off, this went on for about 30 minutes until a young lad of about 12 chased them all off) then they said to come back in an hour, so we headed out to the other office. 
Tolly enjoys the ride...
Apparently the clerks office also serves as the justice of the peace, so while we were waiting we got to see a bunch of beautiful brides (and their grooms) as Friday and Saturday are the two busiest days for weddings.  In fact as we were walking in, there was a JP with a wedding party in the hallway (he was explaining how things would go in the little chapel room) and Mary stopped cold, she thought we were interrupting a wedding in progress.  But everything turned out OK and we got the birth certificates updated no problems.
Proud Papa
After we had all the paperwork together (and they were still unsure if we were going to get expedited passports) they wanted to know if we still wanted to get the kids today or pick them up tomorrow.  We definitely wanted them NOW, no more waiting, no more visits, let's get them and go, go, we went to the orphanage, did some more paperwork, waited some more, gave them the kids clothes, shook hands with the director, and got the kids...and then rushed right out to go to the passport office, cause there was a chance that we might get the expedited ones.  We get there and...waited some more, we waited outside for a bit, got some potato filled bread, had some water, played in the park, went for a short walk, went for another short walk, and finally it was time to go in.  We get inside and they ask for the photos we'd gotten made.
At the park by the passport office

After looking at them, the PO decided that they weren't good enough, hooboy, we went around and around with the kids, Tolly did not want to sit in the photo chair for anything, and Alina just doesn't like to look up at you except when she wants too (which wasn't yesterday.)  I wound up taking Tolly for short walks trying to calm him down, everybody in the PO knew what was going on, but every time I'd take him outside people must have thought I was strangling the poor boy cause he was screaming bloody murder, seriously, he did not want his picture taken.  Finally "L" one of our interpreter/driver's used that mother's touch and talked him into calming down enough to get a photo taken, (we still say the ones we provided were better, but eh, that's the way it goes.)
Are we there yet?
After all that they finally broke it to us that we weren't getting the passports until Tuesday.  But God is awesome and amazing, because we've realized that this is what we need, but more on that later.  They told us that we need to visit a bank on Saturday to close one account and then on Monday we'd close the other (the money will go to the orphanage as a donation to help with their operating costs.)  We also need to take Tolly to the hospital on Monday to get his hand re-wrapped one more time before we leave the country.  By this time it was around 6pm and we'd been out since 8am.  They took us back to the apt and we made dinner.  It was a mess, Tolly eats alright but Alina needs help (we're going to need help teaching her to eat when we get home, she's got no suckling or swallowing reflex,) then we gave them baths, and took them out in the stroller for a short walk.
Near the end of a long day...
We needed some groceries, and wanted to take them to the internet cafe to skype home and show the kids, (unfortunately there is only one skype computer with a camera at the cafe and it was occupied all night) we brought them back to the courtyard and they played ball with Mary and some of the smaller kids until it was time to bring them in for bed.  Putting them to sleep wasn't too hard, (but Tolly did get up at 5am this morning) Alina lied down in her bed and passed right out while Tolly rocked himself to sleep, this took about 10-15 minutes of serious rocking but he finally calmed down enough to pass out.

All in All, we've been praying for expedited passports and a smooth transition.  Last night the Spirit showed Mary (and to a lesser extent Me as well) why our prayer for expedited passports wasn't granted.  Two hours a day with the children, even 7 weeks worth, is not the same thing as being their constant companions and parents for 24 hours a day, every day of the year.  The last 36 hours have been some of the hardest hours of my life, and yet, at the same time they have also been the most rewarding.  If we'd gotten the passports and jumped on a train yesterday or today, the whole trip getting home would have likely been horrible; now as we get to know the children even better, we're confident that we will have a better trip home.  And while we miss our other children dearly, we believe that the Lord knows what is best for us.

Better than TV...

Slava Bolgu and hope to see you all soon!


  1. I just love you guys!! While I know it is VERY hard to be away from your other precious treasures for so long it is worth its weight in gold to have those few extra days to get the chidlren acquainted with you before such a long trip. Your wifey is a smart one!!! So grateful you are so close now. ~Trina

  2. You all are real troopers! We pray this time together will help you bond quickly and help the children to depend on you alone without interference from other well-meaning caregivers left behind, as is so often the case.